Guardianship Law

When a person cannot care or protect themselves from neglect, abuse, or exploitation, the legal process to protect them is called guardianship. Being the guardian of a minor, you provide care for the child and manage his or her money. As a guardian of an incapacitated adult, you make decisions for that adult since they cannot make them on their own. The board-certified probate and estate planning attorney at Dunnam & Dunnam has notable skill in guardianship matters.

Since 1925, Wacoans have selected our law firm when it matters most. Our family owned law firm has served families like yours for generations in Central Texas. Let us help your family too. We have the skill, experience, and results to get the job done right.

Hire an experienced Waco guardianship law attorney

Dunnam & Dunnam helps many people set up guardianships for minor children and incapacitated adults. We are knowledgeable of the guardianship laws and requirements and compassionate towards the parties.

What types of guardianships exist?

Many kinds of guardianships exist to ensure the people you care about are taken care of. Are you concerned about a family member? Are you worried about the type of care a child is receiving?

When a person does not have proper estate planning before becoming incapacitated, it may become unavoidable to establish a court-supervised guardianship. In those matters, a court will designate a guardian who will have the power to make binding legal decisions on behalf of the incapacitated individual or minor.

A legal guardian has serious responsibility and legal authority to take care of another person’s personal and property interests. Guardians are appointed in cases where a person cannot take care of themselves because they are too young or suffer other incapacity or disability.

In most states, parents of a minor child are the legal guardians of that child and may designate a guardian in the event of their deaths. A legal guardian designated either by a family member or the courts has the power and responsibility to handle the ward’s wellbeing and property. In some cases, a special guardian may be appointed. That special guardian does not have the broad powers of a legal guardian. For example, a special guardian may be responsible for the ward’s wellbeing but have only limited control of the ward’s property.

Due to our focus on this area, families throughout Central Texas seeking to protect an incapacitated loved one or a minor look to the Waco guardianship attorneys at Dunnam & Dunnam to advise on guardianships and guide them through the complete court-supervised process.

How do I become the Legal Guardian of a Texas Minor?

The legal process starts with an Application for Appointment of Permanent Guardian. That application will be filed in the county where the child lives. The application must include:

  • Identifying information about the minor
  • Why the minor needs a guardian
  • The relationship between the minor and the party seeking to be appointed guardian
  • Whether there has been a legal conservatorship proceeding for this child in the prior two years
  • Who are and where are the child’s parents

Not just anyone can be a guardian of a minor in Texas. A hearing where evidence is examined to prove that the proposed guardian is fit to serve as a guardian will occur in a probate court.

How do I become the Legal Guardian of an Incapacitated Adult in Texas?

A guardianship for an incapacitated adult is complicated for both parties. There is a similar application process for becoming the guardian of an incapacitated adult as a minor. Evidence will be presented, proving that the incapacitated adult cannot care for themselves and make decisions for themselves. Additionally, the proposed guardian will have to present evidence demonstrating that they are fit to and have the resources to care for someone else.

When Is Guardianship Needed in Texas?

Guardianship may be suitable when:

  • A person can no longer make or communicate safe or sound decisions about his or her person or property. This may include failing to pay bills, losing money, losing track of accounts, forgetting appointments, mishandling medications, driving unsafely, and neglecting hygiene. That individual may also be displaying unusually angry or paranoid behavior.
  • A person has become receptive to fraud or undue influence.
  • A child accepts a financial settlement resulting from a personal injury, property damage, or wrongful death claim.
  • A child with a developmental disability reaches the age of eighteen.

Experienced Guidance Through the Waco Guardianship Process

Our comprehensive guardianship services include the following:

  • Direction through the incapacity determination phase
  • The advice in the filing of the petition and representation at the incapacity hearing
  • Handling the legal guardianship proceeding
  • Providing annual filings for and ongoing guidance to the appointed guardians whose actions and responsibilities, as outlined in the Texas statutes, will be monitored by the court

Types Of Texas Guardianships Our Lawyers Can Help You With

  • Limited guardianship
  • Plenary guardianship
  • Guardian advocate
  • Pre-need guardian
  • Standby guardian
  • Guardianship of a minor

We Are Ready To Advise You On Guardianship Issues

When you call the Waco guardianship attorneys, you will speak directly with a qualified Waco guardianship lawyer, with no commitment required.

If you need a Guardianship Law law firm or Guardianship Law attorney in Waco, Texas, or Central Texas, Dunnam & Dunnam and its attorneys are here to help you.

Guardianship Law involves the preparation and review of legal documents, the resolution of disputes by negotiation, mediation, arbitration, or litigation, and the furnishing of other legal advice and services concerning matters such as those involving:

  • Guardianships for minors
  • Guardianships for incapacitated adults
  • Guardianship alternatives including:
    • Special needs trusts
    • “Crummey” trusts
    • Life insurance trusts
    • “Uniform Transfer to Minor” trusts
    • Tex. Prop. Code ‘142 management trusts
    • Tex. Prob. Code ‘867 management trusts
    • Other trusts

The following attorneys at Dunnam & Dunnam engage in the practice of Guardianship Law:

Vance Dunnam Waco Attorney at Dunnam & Dunnam

Vance Dunnam, Jr.

Vance has been licensed by the State Bar of Texas since 1977 and has practiced law in Waco, Texas since 1978.

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Gerald R. Villarrial

Gerald R. Villarrial has practiced family law, criminal law and civil litigation for over 20 years.

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Brittany Cleere

Brittany is a member of the McLennan County Bar Association, and McLennan County Young Lawyers Association.

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Contact one of our guardianship law attorneys by calling us at 254-753-6437.